ROLE OF AJK FORESTS
Forests are source of timber, fuelwood, medicinal plants, grasses, wildlife, etc. Besides these products forests provide services like recreation, regulation of water flow, improvement of environment and keep weather pleasant. About 60% of the state income is also generated through forests produce.
Forests are natural factories which convert carbon dioxide gas into oxygen. It is the basis for existence of life on the planet. Reduction in carbon dioxide reduces the green house effect also. Forests provide shelter for wildlife, regulate water flow, reduce erosion, and provide clean water for fish culture. Forests are source of biodiversity.
Forests provide protection to human against winds, severe temperatures, landslides, and flood. Forest also protect the ground from erosion. For strategic purpose forests provide camouflage.
The calm and quite environment of forests with clean and fresh air and water is always a place of attraction for tourists, naturalists, and scholars. The lush green mountains, snow covered peeks and green turfed alpine pasture are attractions for the trekker. Hence most of the tourism industry relies upon forests.
Trees are related with human life from cradle to coffin. Man depends upon forests directly and indirectly. At national level these benefits produce commulative effects which are economic uplift of society. Major economic components like Mangla reservoir, hydal power generation and irregation systems are directly related with forests. Even a single tree of common size has value much more than generally estimated.
As per study conducted by ENFO (Bangkok) a mature tree provides products and services of about $3700 US per year which are:
- Production of 4.6 ton oxygen
- Absorption of 6.3 ton carbon dioxide
- Production of 55 kg organic matter
- Absorption of 30,000 litres water
- Production of 40 kg micro organisms
- Production of 40 kg useful algae and fungi
- Production of 19 kg useful insects
- Maintenance of environmental balance and filteration of dust particles, bad smell etc.
- Regulation of water yield and improvement of its quality
- Erosion control
- Increase in soil fertility